DC is rolling out yet another new title under the DCYOU banner. Up to this point, the DCYOU banner has merely been nothing more than a cheap new paint job slapped the old jalopy known as the New 52. Maybe Cyborg #1 will actually offer us something different from what we have been getting under the New 52 banner. I have always been a huge fan of Cyborg. He is a classic Teen Titans character created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez. There are few franchises that I love more dearly than the Wolfman/Perez Titans. Of course, sadly, DC ripped Cyborg from the Teen Titans mythos and inserted him into the Justice League mythos instead. While I am not a fan of that at all, maybe DC can win me over with this new Cyborg title. Let’s check it out.
Words: David F. Walker
Pencils: Ivan Reis
Inks: Joe Prado
Colors: Adriano Lucas
Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin in “another galaxy” where some “Technosapien” alien creatures battling men in armored battle suits called “Techbreakers.” We then shift to STAR Labs in Detroit where Cyborgs father, Dr. Silas Stone and T.O. Morrow (The crazy mad scientist known for creating the Red Tornado in the real DCU prior to the New 52 reboot. Now? He is probably a 25-year-old scientist who is actually an alien snail in a human body costume.) are watching protestors outside of STAR Labs. Silas wonders what the protestors want. Thomas has no idea, either. The two doctors are notified that Cyborg has arrived at STAR Labs and wants to meet with Silas.
Cyborg narrates that his father has never been close to him. That his father largely ignored him until Cyborg nearly died. Then his father saved Vic by turning him into Cyborg. Then Cyborg almost died a second time. His father saved him by rebuilding him again. Then Cyborg almost died a third time. Actually, he did momentarily die. (What the hell?! Is Cyborg the Kenny of the New 52?) We see Cyborg with Sarah, a young scientist or lab assistant who is friends with Vic. Silas and Morrow enter the room. They are amazed at Cyborg’s new form. Cyborg says he has uploaded all the necessary information about his new form onto their tablets.
Silas and Morrow check out Cyborg like he was a new piece of tech from Apple instead of an actual human being. The two scientists talk to each other about Cyborg like he was not even in the room. Cyborg tells them how a couple of days ago he was killed in battle. Silas and Morrow pour over the data on their tablets. They cannot believe what they are seeing. Cyborg was brought back to life almost immediately after he died.
Morrow notes a new energy signature that could be a new operating system activating. Silas says it must be a self-repair protocol. Morrow counters that Cyborg was way past a self-repair protocol. That Cyborg was dead. That this new operating system brought Cyborg back to life.
Sarah yells that Vic is right here in the room. They could at least have the courtesy to acknowledge that fact. Vic tells Sarah that it is okay. Sarah retorts that Vic is not a piece of machinery. That Vic is a human being. Sarah asks if she is the only one who realizes that. Sarah then storms out of the lab.
We cut back to “another galaxy” where the Techbreakers and the Technosapiens are battling each other. The Technosapiens win the fight. They leave one of the Techbreakers alive and keep him captive. They note that the Techbreaker had some new alien tech on him. They say that the tech is more than just a weapon.
We hop back to STAR Labs. Vic sits while Morrow and Silas argue back and forth over what happened to Cyborg. The two scientists review all of the data from their tests on Cyborg. One of the tech assistants tries to get a blood sample from Vic. However, Vic’s skin now has some form of invulnerability since the needle cannot pierce his skin. Cyborg tries to tell Silas and Morrow about his skin now being invulnerable. The two scientists are too busy arguing with each other to hear Cyborg calling out to them.
Cyborg narrates how he was always invisible as a child. That his mom and dad would argue with each other like Vic was not even present. Kind of like how Morrow and Silas are arguing about Cyborg without acting like he is present. Vic says that he hated being invisible. That eventually, he would get upset and yell and scream at his parents. Cyborg then tells at Morrow and Silas to both shut up and listen.
Cyborg narrates how his mom and dad would only pay attention to him after his outburst. Then they would go back to ignoring him and he would be invisible once again. We see Silas and Morrow turning their attention to Cyborg. Suddenly, Cyborg’s arms transform into weird cannon-like weapons. Cyborg has no idea what is going on with himself. Morrow and Silas are surprised. Silas makes sure that they recorded the readings from Cyborg concerning what just happened. Morrow and Silas then scurry back to reviewing the data and ignore Cyborg once again.
Cyborg narrates how people either stop and stare at him or they look away in horror. Cyborg hates both reactions. Cyborg says that even so he would rather have someone stare at him and even be repulsed than to act like he is not even there. Cyborg says that he hates being invisible. Cyborg leaves the room.
Cyborg enters Sarah’s office. Sarah asks if Silas and Morrow were treating him like he wasn’t there, again. Sarah mentions how she grew up with Vic and knows Vic well. Vic says that he does not know what he is now and that his father is not making it any easier. Vic says that he has been playing super hero so long (Wait, wait, wait. Playing super hero for so long? It has been what? 2-4 years. Oh, yes. So very long, indeed. Well, it is long when nobody in the entire New 52 is allowed to be older than 25 years-old.) Vic said that he thought it would be good to take some time off and get your head straight.
Sarah hugs Vic and says that why should get out of STAR Labs and go somewhere. Vic thanks Sarah for carrying more about the man, Vic Stone, rather than the machine. The two then exit the building. One of the protestors yells at Cyborg. The protestor says that he has a useless prosthetic hand and is missing an eye while Cyborg has the latest and greatest tech to replace his arms and eye. (Uh, this protest angle makes zero sense.)
Suddenly, a guy appears on the scene and says to the protestors that Vic isn’t the problem. Vic recognizes the guy as Sebastian Cardona. Sebastian played cornerback on a rival high school football team. Sebastian says that Vic was wide receiver and Vic’s high school beat Sebastian’s high school and four years later Sebastian still feels that agony of defeat.
The two men shake hands. Vic puts his arm around Sebastian’s shoulders and says that they should go get some coffee. Vic asks Sebastian what he is up to these days. (Wow. FOUR WHOLE YEARS!! Such a long time. These guys are so old.) Sarah chases after the guys yelling “Wait for me!” (Sorry, Sarah. Vic lives by the personal coda of “Bros before hoes.”) The protester then says “I thought we were protesting.” (Dude, nobody knows why you guys are here in the story.)
We cut back to the technosapiens talking about how they can heal the techbreakers but they cannot heal themselves. They say that the new tech they found on the techbeakers sings a song of hope and salvation. That it promises the perfection that the creator intended. (You know what? I have absolutely no idea what the hell is going on in these alien scenes.) The leader of the technosapiens says that they will find where this tech came from and that they will make it theirs. End of issue.
The Good: Wow. This issue mercifully comes to an end. Still, despite me not being impressed with this debut issue there are still a few bright spots that will help me satisfy the Revolution’s Rule of Positivity. David Walker certainly gave the reader enough back story in a condensed enough fashion in the beginning of this issue. Cyborg #1 is definitely new reader friendly. You do not have to know anything at all about Cyborg in order to enjoy this issue. I do appreciate that Walker placed an obvious emphasis on Cyborg #1 being extremely new reader friendly.
Walker succeeds in giving Vic a fairly well-developed personality. The only real character work done in this issue is with Cyborg’s character. The reader gets a good sense of Vic’s kind heart. This has always been a hallmark trait for the character. The reader also understands the struggle that rages inside of Vic over his humanity. Vic has always had a tough time reconciling the internal debate he has with himself about if he is man or machine. Walker showed a clear understanding of this part of Vic’s character and did a nice job conveying this internal struggle to the reader.
Walker also did a nice job showing the complex and sometimes frosty relationship between Vic and his father, Silas. I liked how Walker drew a parallel between how Vic’s mother and father would treat him as a child with how Silas and Morrow were treating Vic in the lab. The theme of being invisible was a nice literary theme that together Vic’s childhood to his relationship to his father to his place in society as a man/machine.
Cyborg #1 delivered some solid artwork by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado. This was not the best artwork that I have seen from these guys. But, it got the job done. Honestly, Walker did not demand much from his art crew with this story.
The Bad: If I were to sum up Cyborg #1 in one word it would be “boring.” Seriously, Cyborg #1 was one dreadfully dull read. This was like sitting in a history class with a dusty professor who is older than the Crypt Keeper and has the personality of a beige wall and who drones on and on about the tax and tariff situation in Colonial America. Walker absolutely bores the reader to death with a story that is completely lacking in anything interesting. There is absolutely nothing in the pages of Cyborg #1 that would even remotely be confused with something fun or exciting.
Walker uses this entire issue to beat the reader over the head with the fact that Cyborg is invisible to his father. I liked the theme but not as the central spine for this entire issue. Walker simply repeats the same thing over and over in slightly different ways through out this entire issue. This made Cyborg #1 a slow, repetitious and decompressed read. The pacing is terrible. This issue crawls along at a snail’s pace. There is zero sense of urgency with this issue.
The plotting is equally unimpressive. Cyborg #1 meanders around with no real sense of direction. With a debut issue of a new title it is imperative that the writer sell the reader on what style of story the reader can expect on the new title and what is the point and purpose of the new title. Walker achieves none of this with Cyborg #1. I have no idea what type of title Cyborg is going to be. A meandering story about a mopey machine man? The reader does not know if Cyborg is going to be a classic super hero title, a tech heavy Sci Fi title, an action/adventure title, an introspective character piece or any other style of comic that we see on the market these days. Cyborg #1 fails to give this new title any sense of style or identity.
Walker also fails to instill any plot lines that immediately hook the reader into wanting to come back for more. All we get is that Cyborg now has some new improved tech. That is hardly an original plot line. A hero suddenly receiving a mysterious upgrade in abilities? Walker must deliver far more than what he gives us in this issue if he is going to recycle such an original plot concept.
Then there is the alien plot line involving the piece of tech they found. I have to admit that the alien plot line was just a complete and total hot mess. None of it made much sense. The aliens involved all seemed as generic as possible. The entire plot line was dull and lacked anything interesting or unique at all. There was absolutely nothing at all that hooked my interest. Walker did a poor job fleshing out either of the alien groups, who they are and why they are fighting.
I realize that Walker is trying to tease the reader a bit and leave some of the alien plot line a mystery. However, Walker still has to sell the reader on these unknown generic aliens. And to do so he cannot keep everything a mystery. And, also, a plot line can be mysterious while still being well-developed and fleshed out. This plot line simply felt shallow and undeveloped. It did not seem that Walker had put much time or effort into this plot line.
The protestor plot line? You know what? When the characters involved in the very protest do not know why they are protesting then it is probably safe to say that the reader is not going to know why the protests are happening, either. The protest plot line seemed utterly random and pointless to the story.
The last plot line was the one introduced at the very end with Sebastian showing up and reacquainting with Vic. I have no idea where this is going. Nor do I care. This plot line seemed randomly tacked onto the end of this issue. It was awkward how Sebastian appeared and reacquainted himself with Vic in the middle of a protest. And equally awkward with the way Sarah had to tag along with them. The entire scene was clunky and nothing about it made the reader care about it at all.
And that is the biggest problem with Cyborg #1. There is no reason for the reader to come back for the next issue. There is no reason for the reader to care about the characters in this issue. There is no reason for the reader to be invested or care about any of these plot lines. Walker failed to make any of these plot lines interesting or important. Walker failed to get the reader invested in any of the plot lines. If a debut issue cannot pull off these objectives then the title is going to face an uphill battle in retaining enough of a readership in order to warrant it being published for more than a year or so.
I was also less than impressed with the dialogue in this issue. All of the characters spoke with generic external voices. The dialogue also veered into the land of hackneyed and cheesy dialogue at certain moments. There was certainly zero chemistry between any of the characters in this issue.
The character work was lacking, as well. While I appreciated the character work that Walker attempted to perform on Vic’s character the fact is that Vic still came across as a bit bland. There was not much to Vic’s character that made him stand out from the crowd. The supporting characters in this issue like Silas and Sarah were all one-dimensional and brought little to the story. It is always important that a strong supporting cast is assembled for any new solo title. Walker did not succeed in doing that with Cyborg #1.
Overall: Cyborg #1 was a disappointing read. There are literally hundreds of super hero titles on the market each and every month. That means it is difficult for a new super hero title to stand out from the crowd and give the reader a reason to purchase it. Therefore, it is imperative that the writer give the reader a reason to come back for more and to become interested and invested in the new super hero title. The fact is that Cyborg #1 does nothing at all to help itself to standout from the rest of the super hero titles that flood the market each month. There are so many super hero titles that offer a far superior read than Cyborg #1. I cannot recommend that anyone spend their hard-earned money on Cyborg #1. There are just too many other excellent super hero titles on the market that are more deserving of your money.